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EPA Adds 23 Chemicals, Including BPA, to Key List for Scrutiny, Possible Action

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource Center page and our Health Issue page.

The Environmental Protection Agency has added 23 chemicals-including bisphenol A (BPA), seven phthalates and two flame retardants-to a key list of chemicals that will have particular uses carefully scrutinized for possible regulation or other controls.

The agency on Oct. 23 updated the list of chemicals in commerce that meet certain criteria, such as being used in children's products or being carcinogenic, persistent in the environment or harmful to development, reproduction or the neurological system.

Manufacturers of some of the newly added chemicals include Dow Chemical Co., DuPont, Eastman Chemical Co., Mexichem S.A.B de C.V., Momentive Performance Materials Holdings LLC and Webb Chemical Service Corp.

The EPA also removed 15 chemicals and groups of chemicals from the Toxic Substances Control Act Work Plan list.

The updated TSCA Work Plan now lists 90 chemicals and chemical groups.

The agency is assessing the risks of particular uses of chemicals on that list. It already has completed four assessments and has initiated risk management actions for trichloroethylene (TCE) and methylene chloride.

Assessments for the newly added chemicals will begin after 2017, the agency said.

Depending on the findings of its risk assessments, the agency could decide to regulate one or more uses of the chemical, work with industry to reduce exposures or conclude that its analysis showed a particular use raised no concerns.

Agency Commended for Update

The American Chemistry Council, which represents major U.S. chemical producers, including manufacturers of chemicals listed in the TSCA Work Plan, issued a statement commending the agency for keeping the list up to date.

The council said it was unclear, however, why EPA added certain chemicals to the list that already have been reviewed-and in some cases had risks addressed-by other parts of the agency or by other agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

For example, FDA has primary jurisdiction over bisphenol A, while the CPSC has reviewed various flame retardants.

Richard Denison, lead senior scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund, also commended the EPA for updating its work plan to reflect new data.

"The work plan should be a living document that is revised as new information emerges," he said.

Scientist Questions Removal of Chemicals

Denison questioned the agency's decision to remove 13 chemicals because manufacturers didn't report making them in 2011, the most recent year for which the agency obtained production volume information. The agency said it concluded that these 13 chemicals were no longer in commerce.

"Reporting under the Chemical Data Reporting rule is subject to a high threshold of 25,000 pounds per site in the reporting year. In addition, numerous exemptions from reporting are provided," Denison said.     
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